Weymouth Bay
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Cassatt, Mary

(1844 Allegheny City, Pennsylvania - 1926 Mesnil-Théribus, France)
Mary Stevenson Cassatt grew up in Philadelphia, the daughter of an affluent investment banker. As a young child, Cassatt lived with her family in Germany and France for four years, returning to Philadelphia in 1855. In 1861 she enrolled for four years of training in drawing and painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. In 1865, she traveled to Paris to study and copy works of art by the Old Masters. At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Cassatt returned to the United States but she came back to Europe the following year. After touring and studying in Italy, Spain, Belgium, and France, she settled in Paris in 1875. She lived in France until her death in 1926.
Beginning in 1868, Cassatt exhibited in the Salon, France's annual juried art showcase, which encouraged artists to produce conventional, immaculately finished paintings of historical, religious, and mythological subjects. During the 1870s, she became aware of, and was increasingly influenced by, the work of an independent group, later called the Impressionists, and in particular that of Edgar Degas. In 1877, when Degas asked her to exhibit with the Impressionists, she accepted. She exhibited with the Impressionists in 1879, 1880, 1881, and 1886. After the last Impressionist show in 1886, Cassatt began an association with the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, in whose gallery she had her first solo exhibition in 1893.
In 1903 an exhibition of Mary Cassatt's work was held at Durand-Ruel in New York. She visited the United States in 1904 and again, for the last time, in 1908. Failing eyesight severely curtailed her work. In 1910 she gave up printmaking, and in 1914 she stopped painting.